The World Works Better When the Americans and the Europeans Cooperate
The World Works Better when the Americans and the Europeans
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
and French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier spoke optimistically of a
reinvigorated partnership after their meeting in Paris February 8. (Secretary of
State, French Foreign Minister brief press after their meeting). Transcript:
Rice, Barnier Discuss U.S.-EU Partnership, Iraq, Iran, Syria.
File, Bureau of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.
"This is a time for a reinvigoration of our longstanding partnership and
friendship to turn a new page and to take advantage of the many opportunities
before us," said Rice, recalling that France was America's first ally during the
days of the American Revolution.
Rice said she spoke with French President Jacques Chirac about the importance of
Europe and America supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Iraqi
people as they seek to build a democracy, and the many democratic changes taking
place across the world. "When the United States and France work together, there
is a great deal that we can achieve," she said.
Barnier in his opening remarks praised the major foreign policy speech given
earlier in the day by Rice at the Institute of Political Science in Paris
(Institut d'Etudes Politiques-Sciences Politiques). "You reminded us of
everything that brings us together," he said.
"The world works better when the Americans and the Europeans cooperate," said
Asked about Iran, Rice said, "What we need is unity of purpose and unity of
message to the Iranians." In addition to reiterating U.S. concerns about Iran's
aspirations for nuclear weapons, she called for an end to Iran's support of
terrorism and groups that would destroy the possibilities for peace between
Israelis and Palestinians. She expressed appreciation for the efforts of the
EU-3 (the United Kingdom, France and Germany) to give Iran "a path ... back to
the international community."
Regarding NATO's future role, Rice said, "How NATO's role will evolve, I think,
is still an open question, but we need to be open to new roles that NATO might
play. I do not think that NATO needs to become the policeman of the world." She
said in addition that NATO is "a bulwark for democratic states and it can
therefore play an important role in the spread of democracy and liberty."
On the Middle East peace process, Rice said "this is a time that everybody
should be involved."
"The parties are going to need everyone's help to take advantage of this very
fragile opportunity to move forward," she said.
Asked about Syrian interference in Lebanon, Rice said, "There should be a very
clear message to the Syrians that it is out of step with where the rest of the
region is going to interfere in the democratic processes in Lebanon, and that
those [Lebanese] elections should go forward."
Rice is nearing the end of a week-long trip to Europe and the Middle East. She
has thus far visited the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, the Middle East, Italy
and France. On February 9 she is scheduled to go on to Brussels, where she will
meet with NATO and European Union colleagues, and then she will travel to
Luxembourg before returning to Washington February 10.
U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, February 8, 2005. Remarks by
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French and French Minister of Foreign
Affairs Michel Barnier after their meeting. February 8, 2005, Paris, France.
(2:20 p.m. EDT)
Minister Barnier: (Via Interpreters)
Welcome to each one of you, ladies and gentlemen, and after this meeting that
Condoleezza Rice has just had with the head of state, Jacques Chirac, the
coincidence of our timetables what we have, in fact, with Condi Rice been
traveling more or less along the same routes.
She spent the night in Rome. I spent the night in Gaza and all roads lead,
almost, I would say, to Paris, which is where we meet again tonight. And I am
extremely pleased, Dear Condi, to welcome you here on behalf of the French
Government after meeting with the president of the French Republic.
In this house, where so many important things have occurred, even in this room
that we call the clock room -- you can see it here -- because it's in this very
room, and I often say it -- on that photograph you can see Robert Schuman and
Jean Monnet in front of that mantelpiece. And they were the first to launch the
quest to create the European Community with the heart and steel -- community and
they got six European countries to mutualize their efforts and resources so as
to get together, stronger together. And I was very pleased to hear you earlier
in Sciences Po to call for a strong Europe, saying that United States needed a
strong Europe. You'll allow me to add that the Europeans also need a strong
Your being here is one of those important events for the Quai D'Orsay. Your
movements have been long expected in your important function that you've taken
over after the reelection of President George Bush. Our two countries, Dear
Condi, are the most ancient allies, the one for the other.
Even more, we have never been at war. Never. And I often quote this phrase of a
compatriot, who, after the Second World War was telling you, you, the Americans,
we have helped you in your birth some time ago. You helped us not to die.
We often hear what divides us, our disagreements. But also, this afternoon you
reminded us of everything that brings us together, everything that we do
together on a daily basis: in Kosovo, for the stability of the Balkans; in
Afghanistan, against terrorism and also for the renewal of that country; in
Haiti, for progress and peace; the war against terrorism everywhere we have
together; and recently, with Resolution 1559 for sovereignty and integrity of
Also, ladies and gentlemen, do you know that France is the second foreign
investor in the United States? Today the time has come to open a new phase, to
start a new chapter, to start in a new way within this very old relationship and
to start in this new way to write this new chapter with, I believe, three
objectives: To talk to each other and to listen to each other more. I've just
said we're allies. I also think that alliance is not allegiance. And we have
reasons to talk to each other and to listen to each other more; respecting the
convictions of each one of us, that's the second objective and, of course, we
have to ask ourselves what we can each do for the other. But we must also ask
ourselves what, together, we can do and we must do in order to bring some
solutions and to deal with the major challenges in the world, which are
challenges -- the major matters which require us to act and approach based on
reality so as to ensure within our world peace and security.
I think that, first of all, and more especially, of the place where we have both
been in recent days, the Near East, where, at last, Israelis and Palestinians
have chosen to talk together again and where hope is coming back. I'm thinking
of the risks of the realities of terrorism, which is a mutual challenge; and I'm
also thinking of the risk linked to climate change. And of that struggle for
sustainable development, I have made one, or the major priority for external
activities of France as the President of the Republic wanted. I am thinking of
the risks and the reality of underdevelopment and poverty, especially within the
Dear Condi, and I'd like to say this in public, how convinced I am that the
world works better when the Americans and the Europeans cooperate. The world is
better when Americans and Europeans work together, when they exchange their
analyses while respecting their sensitivities, whether specific or peculiar, in
terms of the exchanges of their world views, but when they're working together.
So it's time to -- for a fresh start, huh?
Secretary Rice: Yes. Thank you very much. I
appreciate that Michel. And thank you very much for taking the time to be here.
I know that this is a difficult time for your family, and I especially want to
thank you for keeping the commitment at this difficult time -- our condolences
to you on the death of your father.
Minister Barnier: Thank you very much.
Secretary Rice: I want very much to underline what
Michel has said. This is a time for a reinvigoration of our longstanding
partnership and friendship to turn a new page and to take advantage of the many
opportunities before us. France has always been an important ally of the United
States. Of course, France was America's first ally, and we greatly appreciate
the common values and the common history, the common sacrifice and the common
successes that we enjoy as America and France.
This has been an opportunity, and we will continue that opportunity to discuss
the broad agenda before us, the desire to have a more democratic and a more
peaceful world, to bring hope to those in parts of the world who have never
enjoyed the fruits of liberty; but also, to talk about the agenda before us in
the Middle East. We were both just there, and I think we agree that this is a
time of opportunity.
Today's meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh was the beginning, we hope, of the parties'
ability to pursue those opportunities before them. And we have agreed, and I had
a chance to talk with President Chirac about the importance of Europe and
America and all of us doing everything that we can to support the efforts of the
parties for peace in that longstanding conflict.
We talked, also, about the elections in Iraq and the opportunity before us now
to support the Iraqi people as they try to build a better future, and about the
many democratic changes that are taking place across the world, the elections
that have taken place in the Palestinian territories, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And I think that we agree completely that Resolution 1559, on which the United
States and France cooperated, which really does speak to the importance of
non-interference by foreign forces in Lebanon's affairs. We agree that there
should be elections, perhaps a fourth reelection, in the Middle East, and that
should be Lebanon. And that election should take place under circumstances that
are free of that interference. And so, we look forward to the many opportunities
I want to thank you very much for hosting me so well here. And I want to thank
President Chirac for the time that he has spent with me.
When the United States and France work together, there is a great deal that we
can achieve. We've talked about Kosovo, about Afghanistan, but of course, we
have also been partners in Haiti and in Cote d'Ivoire. And of course, together,
we will continue our attention on fighting the scourge of AIDS, on poverty
alleviation, on countering terrorism and proliferation of dangerous weapons and
of promoting opportunity and change worldwide.
Thank you again. I look forward to many, many months now of work ahead of us.
Minister Barnier: Thank you very much.
Moderator: A few questions.
Secretary Rice: Yes, if you want to go first. Thank
you. All right.
Question: Christian (Inaudible) from France Trois. Question to you, Ms.
Secretary Rice: Yes.
Question: Secretary Barnier just said a few minutes ago that the European,
United States, are together fighting against terrorism. My question is the
following one: How do you plan to convince the Europeans that we cannot deal
with a terrorist regime like Iran, which is, of course, backing terrorism and
which is not reliable?
Secretary Rice: Well, I think it's well known that
we are deeply concerned about both the external and internal behavior of the
Iranian regime. It would be a destabilizing matter were Iran to acquire a
nuclear weapon under cover of civilian nuclear power development in
contravention of its NonProliferation Treaty obligations.
It is also enormously important as we begin just the first steps toward what
could be a very fruitful outcome for the people of Israel and the Palestinian
territories, that states who are supporting terrorist activities, states who are
supporting the very groups that would try and destroy the possibilities for
peace, get a clear message that that is not acceptable in -- from the
We have worked closely with the European-3 on their efforts to convince the
Iranians to live up to the international obligations. And I have said before and
I will say again that the Europeans are giving the Iranians an opportunity to
demonstrate that they are prepared to live up to those obligations. I hope the
Iranians take the opportunity before them.
Question: Follow up question on Iran.
Secretary Rice: We'll come back.
Question: Peter Mackler, Agence France Presse. Mr. Minister, on the part of our
colleagues, our condolences, as well.
You -- a question to you, Mr. Minister. Secretary Rice did mention about the
need -- well, with Europe -- to play a part and be a partner. But there is also
talk that in the United States they want to have Europe as a partner but not see
it as a counterweight. So what is your reaction to Secretary Rice's remarks
today? Also, what is actually needed to be done concretely on the part of the
United States to get France to reengage concretely in Iraq?
Minister Barnier: (Via Interpreters)
First of all, one word on Iran. Since the situation of Iran, it's a big country
and a vocal country, major peoples with the question of stability in that region.
We're going forward with our eyes open in this negotiation. And British, German,
French, we are in the forefront of European diplomacy, which works, and in the
forefront of international community. We believe this political and diplomatic
work with which we are committed is by far the best way.
But we're going forward with our eyes open in order to convince the regime in
Iran that they should renounce nuclear weapons. That region doesn't need them.
And also, we should get involved in an economic process and energy process,
political process, which will give it its true, peaceful position supporting
stability. And to succeed we need the confidence, the support of Russia, of
China, of international community. But we need the confidence and the support of
the United States in this very delicate phase within which we are. And that's
what the message is that we conveyed to Condi Rice.
Why in your question about Iraq do you say that France should recommit itself,
as if we had not been committed for months and months with other members of the
international community for the success of the political process?
We believe that it's not possible to get out of that tragedy -- that Iraqi
crisis -- through weapons, through extra soldiers. We will get out of it through
politics, through diplomacy, elections, international law. And that's why, for
many months -- and what I'm saying, these aren't words, these are facts -- I
worked with Colin Powell in a very constructive way, and with others, on the
resolution of 1546. And that's why -- and the President reminded Condi Rice
about it earlier -- we've made an effort, which was not obvious, especially with
respect to other problems in Africa, in terms of the debt of Iraq, and yet
alleviating 80 percent.
Well, that's why I took part. That's why I prepared in a constructive way the
Sharm el-Sheikh meeting, another Sharm el-Sheikh meeting, dealing with Iraq
because it was all those stages which committed Iraq into a political process
among which the first step has been taken successfully, thanks to the courage
and determination of the Iraqi citizens who went to vote.
So we are committed. We don't need to recommit, as your question suggested. We
are committed for the success of the political process. And the President
confirmed, as we told the Iraqi President a few weeks ago, that we were going to
be involved, apart from the training of security forces, that we were ready,
within the framework of assistance we're going to work on with the U.S. and
other countries, to work for economic reconstruction, the creation of a state of
law. We want the country to get back to stability and sovereignty.
Question: The question, a follow up question on Iran. Unfortunately, neither
European diplomatic efforts or American threats seem to be having any effects at
the moment on the will of Tehran to pursue its nuclear business. So the question
is, isn't it time that Tehran and Washington have or entertain some kind of
Secretary Rice: Thank you. The Iranians know what,
precisely what they need to do. And I do want to say we are appreciative of the
efforts that the EU-3 is making with the Iranians to give them a path to
international -- back to the international community because they clearly are
engaged in activities that make everyone suspicious about what they're doing.
But we have several fronts on which we are cooperating and working on the
Iranian issue. It is not just the EU-3 effort, though that is very important. It
is also the IAEA Board of Governors, which continues to watch the situation,
continues to insist on verification measures.
We have had very good cooperation with the Russians, who I think have recognized
the proliferation risk of civilian nuclear cooperation with the Iranians if
there is not a means by which to take back the fuel and if the Iranians do not
sign the additional protocol.
So you are getting a lot of common effort with the Iranians to get them to do
what they must do, which is to foreswear any desire or effort to build nuclear
weapons under the cover of civilian nuclear power, and to get back to -- to
adhere to their international obligations.
We have diplomatic tools before us. What we need is unity of purpose and unity
of message to the Iranians. And we should not let the Iranians continue to
create new conditions that have to be fulfilled somehow before they are prepared
to live up to their international obligations. Everybody knows what the Iranians
need to do. They just need to do it.
Question: Madame Secretary, my question is about NATO, and also for Mr. Barnier.
It seems that NATO is expanding its role, its influence, and you mentioned it
today in Sciences Po, beyond its traditional borders. Is NATO destined, in your
view, in the American view, to become the policeman of the world now to
intervene in conflicts?
And I'd like to know how you see this role beyond Iraq. You're already in
consultations with many Gulf countries. I'm from the Kuwaiti News Agency,
incidentally, so that's why I have the question.
And also I'd like to ask Mr. Barnier: Are France and the United States on the
same wavelength on what NATO should be doing in the world today and what its
future role is? Thank you.
Secretary Rice: Well, NATO's role is evolving and
it is really evolving rather quickly. It is evolving, in part, because it is an
expanded alliance now with states who have interests in different kinds of
activities for NATO. It is transforming in that the member-states of NATO have
committed to changing the nature of their military forces to be more in common
with the needs of today.
You mentioned the NATO Istanbul Outreach Dialogue, which I think is extremely
important to the Middle East. And, of course, NATO is heavily involved in
Afghanistan and now involved in the training in Iraq.
NATO has a very bright future. You know, I'm an old specialist on the Warsaw
Pact. And I can remember that at the time of German unification and the collapse
of the Soviet Union that people said, well, the Warsaw Pact will go away, but so
Who would have imagined that we would have such a vibrant NATO, expanded now to
the Baltic states, expanded into Southern and Central Europe, that is
participating and is contributing, not just in Europe but in the Middle East and
in the broader Middle East?
How NATO's role will evolve, I think, is still an open question, but we need to
be open to new roles that NATO might play. I do not think that NATO needs to
become the policeman of the world. I think that would be asking too much of this
alliance. It needs to be focused. It is a bulwark for democratic states, and it
can therefore play an important role in the spread of democracy and liberty, but
we have other means.
One thing that we agreed at the G-8 is that we needed robust peacekeeping forces
for regional conflicts like some of the conflicts that have been taking place in
Africa, where the French, of course, have been very involved in Africa, and the
United States very involved in Liberia, the French in Cote D'Ivoire, DROC. And
we need more robust peacekeeping forces for the regional players.
The African Union is prepared to do work in Sudan. They need to be allowed, by
the way, by Khartoum to do that work. The ECOWAS was the lead, with the United
States, in Liberia. And so it would be -- and by the way, the Brazilians are
leading the effort now in Haiti. So there are many other actors, many other
players, who can play a very positive role in peacekeeping around the world.
And we have agreed that there should be a global effort to improve the
peacekeeping skills of African nations, of Latin American nations, and the like.
So NATO has a very important role to play, but we should be very clear that
there are many others who need to play these roles as well.
Minister Barnier: (Via Interpreters)
I said earlier that we were allies, the French and the Americans and with others,
since the beginning, as far as we're concerned, in the framework of that
alliance since the end of the second world conflict of the 20th century. It's
the NATO organization of which we are a member and within which we act.
As it happens at the moment you are asking me, France is managing the NATO
operation in Afghanistan as we are now managing a NATO operation in Kosovo. So
we have no complexes and no particular anxieties about this transatlantic
organization, which was constructed within a geopolitical situation after the
World War, which has changed. So it's not surprising, as Condi said, that the
missions or vocations of NATO might evolve on the basis of what the world is
I agree with what has been said to say that the vocation of NATO is not to be
the world's policeman. And no one, in fact, has that vocation apart from the
Security Council of the UN and the General Assembly of the UN. It's within the
framework of international law that you have the NATO interventions in
Afghanistan, for example, and it might be NATO here if we think that it's the
best way. It might also be, as Condi said, an African force for peacekeeping or
a European force. That's already happened in Africa, a coalition of national
forces as happened in Haiti. And I want to say, since I'm speaking of
instruments, that this alliance which links us is not incompatible, or should be
compatible, with the efforts that we make -- that I'm making -- for Europe to
also be strong in terms of its defense in the new European constitution. And the
French are going to look at that in a couple of months. And there is a chapter
within which I did a lot of work for a true European defense policy; and we seek
The Europeans need it for their own security in order to be able to act
externally in some circumstances so that it should be compatible with our
commitments and our alliances. And the famous (inaudible) text, a European
defense policy of solidarity, in which it's also complementary. That's our
spirit within which we work in NATO.
Question: You spoke of 1559.
Minister Barnier: (Via Interpreters)
Just a minute.
Question: You spoke of 1559 and the cooperation between France and the United
States on Lebanon and free elections in Lebanon that you expect. What if Syria
refuses the implementation of 1559? How would you initiate another moving
towards the elections and towards freedom?
Second, Minister Barnier said, when Europe and the United States cooperate, the
world is better off. Do you -- will you allow France and Europe to have a role
in the Middle East peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis? But
you, as administration previously did not want a European role.
Secretary Rice: Well, of course, Europe already has
a role in the Middle East peace process through the Quartet, through the EU
membership in the Quartet, the Quartet, of course, the United States, Russia,
the UN and the European Union; of course, European countries have a role. The
foreign minister was just there speaking with President Abbas and giving, I
think -- and with Prime Minister Sharon -- and so there is obviously a role. We
are going to need everyone's help. The parties are going to need everyone's help
to take advantage of this very fragile opportunity to move forward.
We have had many opportunities in the past that did not end in peace, and if we
are going to seize the opportunity this time, we will have to mobilize ourselves
to support the democratization of the Palestinian territories, as President
Abbas wishes to do, to rebuild the Palestinian security forces, to give
reconstruction assistance to the Palestinians. The President just recently said
that the United States will devote $350 million to trying to help with
The European Union has been a major contributor. The Gulf States need to pay
their -- the pledges that they've made so that reconstruction can go forward. We
need to support the Israeli disengagement plan from the Gaza because if you --
the Gaza and the four settlements in the West Bank -- because if you think of it,
what is different now is that the parties have made some fundamentally difficult
choices. The Palestinian leadership today talked about an end to the armed
Intifadah, talked about the need to live in peace with Israel. The Israelis
recognize that they cannot stay in all of the territories that they have
occupied, and you have now a new dynamic with the new Palestinian leadership and
with the Israelis having made some pretty fundamental choices on disengagement.
So this is a time that everybody should be involved.
Lebanon is a situation in which there is the potential for a very fragile
democratic situation to be stabilized and supported by us. And that's why France
and the United States sponsored Resolution 1559. There should be a very clear
message to the Syrians that it is out of step with where the rest of the region
is going to interfere in the democratic processes in Lebanon, and that those
elections should go forward. The 1559 speaks to these issues and it should be
The Syrians also, of course, need to stop supporting from Lebanon the
rejectionist groups that are a threat to the very peace process that we all want
to see go forward. The United States has already used the Syrian Accountability
Act to levy sanctions against Syria. We are constantly looking at what more
needs to be done in that regard. Because it is just not acceptable that Syria
would continue to be a place from which terrorists are funded and helped to
destroy the very fragile peace process in the Middle East or to change the
dynamic of events in Lebanon.
Minister Barnier: (Via Interpreters)
I said earlier, greeting Condi Rice, that, for me, the priority of this new
state of mind between us, the Europeans and Americans, French and Americans, is
that together we should contribute to peace in the Middle East since this
conflict is a key one. And the fact that it hasn't been resolved for so many
years has consequences not only in that region, but in all our societies. It
encourages fear and insecurity in Israel, and despair and humiliation on the
Palestinian side. We must get out of that situation, which is possible today
thanks to the dialogue which is being renewed between Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel
Sharon at Sharm el-Sheikh, and it's really symbolic that we should talk about it
today since we were, Condi Rice and I, in that region yesterday and even today.
And peace requires direct dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, which is
what's now happening. Peace requires that we should support the Israeli
Government and the Palestinian Authority, who are showing courage, both of them,
both of them. Ariel Sharon is courageous in his decision to pull out of Gaza and
the Palestinian President, who's just been elected in a democratic way by the
Palestinians, is showing courage in restructuring his security services, in what
he's doing to reduce violence, in the reforms that he has started.
And finally, peace demands that the members of the Quartet should be involved --
the Americans, Europeans, Russians and members of the UN -- as well as the
countries in the region. It's a fragile thing, as Condi said, but itis possible